This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Friday's two-game slate features two intriguing matchups, as the Celtics and Bucks meet for the third game of the series (tied at 1-1), while the Nuggets and Trail Blazers will move the action to Rip City in a series that is also deadlocked at 1-1.
From a DFS perspective, there's ample reason to shy away from the DEN/POR matchup after an anemic showing from both teams that yielded a meager 187 points in Game 2. Both Jamal Murray and Damian Lillard struggled early on, yielding some impressive displays by both benches. Vegas seems undeterred by this outcome, as they've pegged the O/U at 214. I'm inclined to side with the sportsbooks here, as this matchup has nowhere to go but up in terms of production. Nikola Jokic ($10,300) still managed to churn out a double-double in Game 2, and I see little reason to distrust value-meeting total tonight, but Jamal Murray (thigh) will be a risky play due to his injury, even though he will likely start and play as much as possible.
The scoring totals for the MIL/BOS series have also disappointed, as both teams seem to be struggling for balance. Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,200) is under enormous pressure to push this team through, and Kyrie Irving ($8,500) looks overworked and off his game, averaging a mere 17 points and seven assists over the past two games.
I don't think we'll see many contest totals breach the 300 mark tonight, but I will endeavor to recommend our best options at a variety of price points at each position, keeping in mind that both Jokic and Giannis are reasonable anchors, regardless of the format.
C.J. McCollum, POR vs. DEN ($6,600): Speaking of enormous pressure, Damian Lillard ($9,300) should be feeling it in spades, and his lackluster showing in Game 2 underlined the necessity for the rest of the team to help out in all facets of the offense. The synergy of Lillard and McCollum was a topic I highlighted many times this season. Last year's see-saw routine between the two players has settled into a more consistent rhythm this season, although it was interrupted by McCollum's injury. After a slow return, McCollum's playoff contributions have been consistent, averaging 22.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists over seven games. He's usually considered as a singular scoring threat, but his ancillary numbers have certainly boosted his value, especially at this price.
Eric Bledsoe, MIL at BOS ($6,100): Bledsoe rebounded from a poor Game 1 performance with a 35.75 DKFP total in Game 2. If you look at recent totals from Bledsoe, you can make a solid case for calling his Game 1 stat line an aberration, especially when you consider how badly they were getting shellacked by the Celtics. As they shift the scene to Boston, the public money seems to be favoring Milwaukee as the team to take control of this series, and Bledsoe will be a vital component of this outcome.
Rodney Hood, POR vs. DEN ($3,900): Hood has entered a renaissance in the postseason, as the journeyman has at least found a temporary home in the Portland backcourt. While dwelling in the shadow of Lillard and McCollum since his trade from Cleveland, he's emerged as a great change-of-pace guard who can inflict significant damage if he gets hot, especially from long range. This has been especially true in the two games against Denver. His previous totals make him a risky endorsement, but he makes for a solid filler as your salary shrinks from elite acquisitions.
Khris Middleton, MIL at BOS ($6,800): Middleton's consistency throughout the season makes him a natural candidate to consider. With one of the more solid floors in the league, he's in the upper echelon of hybrid -guard forwards on a slate like this that lacks consistent players at the position. He is a nightly lock for 30 DKFP but can push those totals higher, as he did in Game 2 with a 41 DKFP performance.
Al-Farouq Aminu, POR vs. DEN ($4,400): Moe Harkless (ankle) underwent an MRI yesterday that revealed an ankle sprain, and while he has a questionable designation, he'll play if he is able. Even if he does take the floor, one should expect his participation to be limited, which should open things up for Aminu as the primary offensive target on the wing. Although Enes Kanter will still be in full control of the paint, his separated shoulder is still a concern, and Aminu has demonstrated the ability to record double-doubles with some impressive evenings off the glass. He did just that in Game 2, notching 10 rebounds to go along with 11 points.
Pat Connaughton, MIL at BOS ($3,700): My money is on the Bucks tonight, and Connaughton is a guy I predict will come off the bench and play a lot of minutes if the game gets out of hand. He'll still make a solid contribution in the second unit if that isn't the case, but he doesn't have to do much to beat value at $3,700. If I can spend the extra money wisely enough, he's another decent budget value, although not quite as stable as Hood.
Al Horford, BOS vs. MIL ($7,000): Barring the obvious Jokic pick, Horford has been a solid presence on a Celtics squad that seems to be a bit out of sorts. The offense tends to live and die by Irving's hand, and if things aren't humming in the backcourt, someone has to pick up the slack. Horford has fit the bill in that department, sporting a double-double average of 13.2 points and 10 rebounds so far in the postseason.
Enes Kanter, POR vs. DEN ($6,300): With or without the shoulder injury, it's become increasingly difficult to ignore Kanter when he still registers a price in the low-6k range. He's agonizingly close to a double-double average in the postseason (15.3 points and 9.7 rebounds over seven games, and Harkless' injury will likely result in m a double-digit rebound total.